Monday, May 24, 2010

Feels like starting all over again.

I love fresh starts.
I love wiping the slate clean and starting all over again.
I love brand spanking new ideas, and starting new routines.
Heck, I just love my life *shrug*.

Today felt like a new beginning.
Husband started his new job, leaving the house around 8am.  It has been many many years since this household danced to any sort of "normal" routine.  For a year and a half we have struggled with unemployment.  For 10 or so years before that we jigged along to night shifts and all that entails (namely tiredness and grumpy days!)  Now we have a normality.  I need to repeat that.  We have a normality.  Eeeek.  You can't get more normal than 9am-5pm Monday to Friday can you?  It's like text book stuff.  Hmmmm - will have to get used to something in my life being "normal" :o)

So, we were very much finding our feet today. 

As wonderful as it has been sharing my life with my husband 24/7 (and I certainly feel as if it brought us closer as a family unit), it has messed up the great routine I had in place previously.  I had a nice little well-established method arranged for running the home.  I got up early before the children, did various cleaning and household chores, husband came home to a clean and tidy home = happy chappy, and I got to spend the rest of the day with or without children depending on their wants and needs.  I liked it, husband liked it, and the children certainly seemed to thrive on it.  So what went wrong?

I got lazy.

When husband came out of work, the routine grew wings and fled the nest at great speed.  Husband was (is) wonderful around the home.  Cooking, cleaning, washing etc.  Yes I did bits here and there, but it was more me helping him out than vice versa.  A complete role reversal really.  The home-ed stuff just plodded along.  The children didn't seem to suffer.  At least I've certainly not noticed a decline in their abilities, enthusiasm or love of life, but we seemed to just flounder, not really having any direction.  We often had last minute change of plans.  We often headed out somewhere instead of staying home as expected.  We often decided to snuggle up and read a book or watch TV together instead of ploughing on with the lapbook or project.  That is a great plus to home-ed, but I'm not always comfortable with that. 

To clarify - that's me not comfortable with that.

Those that are regular blog readers will know that I adore planning. I make lists.  I make plans. I search for ideas and inspiration on a regular basis.  I seek out books and websites to help me with my planning and idea seeking (but admit to rarely implementing said planning and ideas from said books and websites, preferring to nip and tuck my own).  I love pretty notebooks and overly bright and trendy files where I can keep all this written with much love and enthusiasm stuff.  I like feeling, no, I need to feel like I have something to strive for, ideas to work towards, things to achieve. 

I really don't like feeling like a wet fish stranded on the shore gasping for direction. 

So where does this leave my love of autonomous learning?  Hmm, in a bit of a muddle I guess *grin*.  In my head I see my planning as a back-up.  A get-out clause I guess.  When we are struggling for inspiration, when the children are whingy and whiny, when I have one of those "argh we aren't doing enough!" moments (which are now few and far between thankfully!), I can reach out a hand (complete with multi-coloured nail varnish no doubt) for one of my pretty notebooks or bright and trendy files and save the day.  I ALWAYS ask the children for their thoughts and wants.  I ALWAYS want them to have maximum input in all we do.  I NEVER want to force my ideas and wants upon them.  This is their life.  Their education.  I can guide, I can inspire, I can facilitate.  But ultimately, it's their decision, their journey, their learning adventure.  I discovered long ago that dictating to my children what they were going to learn when was a totally fruitless task.  They may seem to be paying attention for a little while.  They may pretend to show enthusiasm for the requested task, but ultimately they would shut down and display what can only be described as a brain dead expression.

I know there will be many readers in absolute shock as they read this.  Their minds will be exploding with "but how will they ever learn anything if they are given such freedom to choose?!?!"  I can't answer that.  Not fully.  Not yet.  I'll tell you how successful this outrageous idea is in 10/15/20 years time, when my little ones are fully grown and living adult lives.  My hopes and dreams for them are simple.  To be happy.  To live a life that is fulfilling, whatever path that takes.  I can say for now that they are wonderful kids.  They are polite and friendly.  They help where they can.  They are compassionate and caring.  They can read fluently (well ok, 4 year old isn't quite fluent yet, but he's showing all the signs of being able to get there), and they love learning and discovering new things.   Their minds are curious and their eyes are bright.  They welcome each new day as a new experience, and don't need much prodding to get out of bed each morning!   They are everything I want my children to be and more. 

I really am going off on a tangent and this blog post is nothing I expected or planned it to be - see how good I am at planning?  Think my point has been made quite eloquently *grin*.

Back to today.  I made lists, and stuck to them.  I remembered how to use the washing machine - and more miraculously - I remembered to peg out the washing to dry :o)  I prepared and cooked dinner, cleaned, hoovered, mopped, and smiled.  We found time to spend a very pleasant few hours amongst friends at a very quiet Home-Ed group, and ate dinner in the garden surrounded by birdsong.  I was organised, committed, happy, and in my element once again.  I really love it when a plan comes together and we work happily as a team.  The children have had times of being with me, and times of being independent and absent.  They have read books, watched documentaries, written stories, and planned future projects.  They have played with friends, and played alone.  Jumped on trampolines and played with our dog.  They have searched for four-leaf clovers and discovered mystery tunnels.  They have created memories, expanded their knowledge, and gone to bed happy.  What more could I ask for?

Tomorrow is already been filled with requests.  Muzzy Spanish and cake baking at the request of Tiegan.  Library visiting and bread-making at the request of Chelsea.  Letter writing and Tudor project at the request of Joseph.  Reading story books and lego building at the request of Callum.

I'm off to bed now too, I want to get stuck into reading Sandra Dodd's book of Unschooling.  Oh and Chris Packham!!!  I've been trying to remember his name all day...



  1. Hi Jules,
    Thanks for your encouraging thumbs up's that are sprinkled on my facebook posts =) Gives me a wee boost to know you are interested enough to take a peek.
    I was delighted to read of your hubby's new job - bet you can't wait for the first pay packet. EEEK! Word of warning - don't look at the bit that says TAX - I nearly have heart failure every month when I see how much is taken from Jimi's wages. He is facing uncertainty with his job at the moment which is quite frightening given his age and the current unemployment situation. Will deal with that if and when ... BTW I do a very good line in procrastination LOL!
    So starts another new chapter in the Pollard 'Book of Life'
    Hope it is filled with sunshine smiles and happy times for you all.
    Sending huge hugs as always.


  2. Sounds very good :)